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Syria’s state-run news agency says an “armed terrorist group” killed three people during an attack on a pro-government television station.

SANA said terrorists planted explosives during the attack early Wednesday at the headquarters of the al-Ikhbaria satellite channel, but did not say how the employees died.

Syria often uses the term “armed terrorists” to label the rebels leading the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s nearly 12-year rule.

Assad addressed his new Cabinet on Tuesday, 15 months into the uprising, and expressed the need to focus the government on the fighting.

“And we are living,as I said before the People’s Assembly, in a state of war, a genuine state of war in all its aspects, with all that those words mean,” he said. “And when we are living in a state of war, all our policies, all our directions and all our agencies are focused on winning that war.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Syrian military fired artillery in several rebellious suburbs near central Damascus for the first time on Tuesday. The rights group also reported fighting in the cities of Daraa, Homs, Aleppo, and Deir Ezzor, as well as in Hama and Idlib provinces. The Observatory said Tuesday’s violence killed at least 62 people, more than half of them civilians.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told Security Council members the situation in Syria is too dangerous for U.N. monitors to resume work there. Diplomats at Tuesday’s briefing quote Ladsous as saying the observer mission will remain suspended, as it has been since June 16. The U.N. official also said the Syrian government refuses to allow the monitors to use satellite telephones, which he called “key tools” of the operation.

The almost 300 unarmed military observers in Syria had come under attack several times with gunfire and bombs in the weeks before they stopped their patrols. The U.N. Security Council must decide by July 20 whether to renew the mission’s mandate.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has a network of contacts in Syria including rebels, activists and state security members. The group says that Syria’s conflict has killed more than 15,800 people. Its reports of fighting and casualties cannot be independently confirmed.

VOA

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